I have some pics of Pochard here. I am into ducks too - well all birds actually. There is a red crested Pochard which looks good but not native to UK so you only get them at zoo's and collections.
Baobabs are cool trees but they are short and bushy. These are real tall, straight and like ship masts !. You read "The little prince ?" - Love that book. I think it lost a bit in translation tho.
Military force. Well weve all been concentrating on the merchant side of things really. Meleeguy was going to do Fenridge Castle where there would be a large garrison. Anywhere along the ridge from Roebuck to Morton would have pretty large amounts of guards and mercenaries tho. All of the towns should have some sort of protection so I would think almost anywhere would be able to provide a background.